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Seattle Police Department Gets Postive Marks On Reform

Paula Wissel

The Seattle Police Department is getting good marks in the latest assessment from a federal monitor. The department has been under a federal court order to reform since 2012, following findings of racially biased policing.

In the latest review of the Seattle Police Department, the tenth assessment done since oversight began, the federal overseer looked at the adequacy of supervision in the department.  One question to answer was if all officers have a clearly identified first-line supervisor each day — also, if police sergeants receive timely and adequate supervisory training.

The assessment found that the department is in compliance in these areas, as required by court-ordered reform. For example, the monitor found that the chain of command now receives timely notice and reviews and tracks the use of force by officers, and that appropriate action is taken when an officer’s use of force is found to be problematic.

In the future, the monitor will assess whether supervisors are sufficiently reviewing documentation of police stops and appropriately flagging stops for which officers didn’t appear to have reasonable suspicion to make the stop.

On Wednesday, January 4, a status conference on the progress of reform will take place in the federal courthouse in Seattle before U.S. District Judge James Robart.  The conference, which is open to the public, is at 10 a.m.

Paula is a former host, reporter and producer who retired from KNKX in 2021. She joined the station in 1989 as All Things Considered host and covered the Law and Justice beat for 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.